Scientists unravel mechanism for melting of DNA double helix

Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have uncovered how the double helix structure of DNA is opened to allow DNA replication. The work could lead to further studies to better understand this process including how it ...

The secret to a longer lifespan? Gene regulation holds a clue

Natural selection has produced mammals that age at dramatically different rates. Take, for example, naked mole rats and mice; the former can live up to 41 years, nearly ten times as long as similar-size rodents such as mice.

Linker histone's surprising partnership with single-stranded DNA

To keep order in the tight quarters of the cell nucleus, our DNA is neatly clamped in place around a central disk by H1 linker histone, which helps shepherd DNA into the tidy chromatin fibers that comprise chromosomes. Linker ...

Self-regulation of an enzyme with critical cellular functions

The lab of Kathy Gould, Louise B. McGavock Professor and professor of cell and developmental biology, used a multi-disciplinary approach that included structural biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to investigate ...

Study advances understanding of bacterial bioterrorism agent

Vanderbilt researchers have identified a critical regulatory factor in Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes the disease anthrax and has been used as a biological weapon. The findings, reported in the journal Nature ...

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DNA repair

DNA repair refers to a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light and Radiation can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell's genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. Consequently, the DNA repair process is constantly active as it responds to damage in the DNA structure.

The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including the cell type, the age of the cell, and the extracellular environment. A cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, or one that no longer effectively repairs damage incurred to its DNA, can enter one of three possible states:

The DNA repair ability of a cell is vital to the integrity of its genome and thus to its normal functioning and that of the organism. Many genes that were initially shown to influence lifespan have turned out to be involved in DNA damage repair and protection. Failure to correct molecular lesions in cells that form gametes can introduce mutations into the genomes of the offspring and thus influence the rate of evolution.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA